A couple of summers ago, I joined a small group of women who met for a daily time of devotion and walking. Due to my physical condition I had to take a less rigorous trail than the other women in the group but they welcomed and even encouraged me to come and would take turns walking with me, letting me set the pace. How trying that must have been for them sometimes but whenever I suggested that I could go it alone they dismissed my suggestion. It was not to be thought of for to them it was a joy to spend some time walking and talking with me and I came to discover they actually looked forward to their turn to walk "my trail" with me. Never once did they make me feel like I was a hinderance or a burden.
It was during that time that one of the ladies shared with me her story about forgiveness. It is an amazing story about forgiveness and grace, a story that was actually told once again at our church this weekend. I want to share it with all of you.
When my friend married, her husband had a teenage son who had been in a great deal of trouble. She entered the marriage a bit apprehensive but God did a mighty work in that young man's life and she came to love him as her own. A few years later, she and her husband decided to move back to Minnesota.
Time went by and her step-son seemed to be doing well. Then one day tragedy struck.My friends received the phone call every parent dreads. Their son had been murdered and the suspects were former "friends" from his previous life, out to seek revenge.
I cannot possibly imagine their horror, grief and anger. To me it is incomprehensible. Understandably, in addition to that their faith as well as their marriage was shaken to its very core. I may not be able to imagine it but God knows exactly what they are feeling.
As the days, weeks and months slipped by, my friends began to do what they had thought was impossible. They began to forgive.
The day came when the father had to face the killers of his son in a courtroom and make a statement prior to their sentencing. The crime had happened in a state that has the death penalty and that was exactly what the State was seeking as the penalty for this brutal crime. The father had thought and prayed much before making his statement. Then, as he faced his son's killers, he not only pleaded for their lives, he took the opportunity to share the gospel with them as well as the entire courtroom.
Unforgiveness will eat away at us until we are utterly destroyed. We must truly release it, let it go and place the wrong, the sin, the hurt, exactly where it belongs. In the hands of God.
Oh your friends have suffered so much ... so sorry ... I can't imagine either how hard this must have been, can't begin to. How could you carry on?
But oh yes, God knows ... and his radiant gift of forgiveness in the face of such a terrible loss was a life-changing one, a life-giving one.
How beautiful that your friend shared this gift in the way that he did, and how beautifully God's blessing is spreading through this man's prayerful actions: in the courtoom, in the church, here and far beyond.
Thank you K for sharing with us.